Academic Muse

online writing juice to finish your creative academic book, dissertation, or article

A Formula to Play with Your Concepts and Generate New Thoughts

My children have a blast playing Mad Libs. If you don’t know this game, it has two parts. The first part you answer some questions without knowing how the answers will be used. On the next page, you have to fill in the blanks of a pre-written story with those answers. The random combinations make for a real crazy story. Lots of giggling and silliness ensues. As in Dada, poop makes its appearance. But even without […]

How to not Fritter Away Your Sabbatical or Summer Break

3 Ways to Focus on Style not Content

It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s How You Say It There is a strong— no huge— pull in the academic writer toward the content and meaning of what they are trying to say, and often times style gets left in behind. You want to say what you want to say, get it right, get it just so. So you choose the words that fit what you are tying to say the best, right? And […]

New Year’s Resolutions Suck (no offense)

But there is a way to create our Future Now I’ll be the first one to admit that I am not socially normal. Do you, too, seem to be looking in on the collective behaviors of the humans like you are an alien? That “abnormality” is fairly normal for academics in many fields, actually. We are observers, and got into academia because there was always something quirky about how we saw things. So all that […]

3 Big Don’ts Before Submitting Your Writing

     Are you shooting yourself in the foot? When it comes to submitting your scholarly article for publication you might as well shoot yourself in the foot if you are not doing these three things.      Why the violent metaphor? Well it’s just because these are 3 very easy things and so it’s really a crime against yourself if you are not doing them.

Academic Mad Libs: The Idea-inator

An Exercise for a Sense of Play in Academic Writing      And, for exploring unexpected possibilities in what we are thinking and writing about. This is a fantastic exercise that anyone can do and everyone can benefit from.      Just yesterday my children were playing Mad Libs, and having a blast. If you don’t know this game, it has two parts. The first part you answer some questions without knowing how the answers […]

How’s it Going? You Don’t Know!

Don’t get me wrong now: I’m a big fan of keeping track of how it’s going with our writing. I encourage all our writers to track time writing, or alternatively word counts, to be aware of the limiting thoughts that are slowing us down. It’s important to look out for the life conditions that breed perfectionism, stuckness, and “deer in headlight” syndrome, and a host of other conditions and problems. I also constantly remind writers […]

5 Best Tactics to Get Writing When It’s Not Happening

I think we all know those moments when it seems we just can’t do it. Maybe we’ve been working a bit too hard lately. Maybe things have been really hectic. Maybe we have been on vacation for a little while. Maybe we let things slide a little too long. It could be anything, and often we don’t know the reason why. We just know we can’t get ourselves to get to work.

What am I trying to Say? Don’t ask that!

Narrow it down first. Ask, “What kind of thing am I trying to Say?” I’m sure at different times you’ve been writing, feeling you are missing the one thing that would make it so much easier to see how things fit together. The one thing that would help you decide what to include and what to cut. The one thing that would allow you to know what to write next, or even what to write at all. And we […]

What Busts Through our Limits? A Sense of Inevitability.

     When we are down about writing, just replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is not enough. Sure, it can help a little—but those positive thoughts must feel real for it to help a lot. And so they must be based in something true and trustworthy. How do we find that truth in positive thoughts? Our desired outcome should feel inevitable. A foregone conclusion.